“We remain concerned”
USA welcomes Serbian troop reduction on Kosovo border
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A few days ago there were deadly clashes between Kosovar police officers and Serbian soldiers in northern Kosovo. This shocked the USA, among others. The fact that Serbia reports that it has reduced the number of troops on the border with Kosovo is a welcome step.
The USA has welcomed the reduction in soldiers reported by Serbia on the border with Kosovo – and at the same time stated that it is still verifying this. “We will wait for further confirmation. But if true, it would be a welcome step,” said US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller. “We remain concerned about the increasing tensions and sporadic violence in northern Kosovo and encourage both parties to return to EU-sponsored dialogue.”
Serbia had previously assured that the number of soldiers at the border had returned to a “normal” level. Chief of General Staff Milan Mojsilovic told journalists in Belgrade that the number had been reduced from 8,350 to 4,500 with a view to the border with Kosovo.
Fear of Balkan war
A week ago on Sunday, deadly clashes occurred in northern Kosovo, making it the worst incident in the region for years. A police officer was killed in an attack on a Kosovo police patrol. Later, around 30 armed men barricaded themselves in a monastery. Three armed Serbs were killed in exchanges of fire with police.
Shortly afterwards, the USA warned of a “large Serbian military presence along the border with Kosovo”. Washington and Berlin warned of escalation and urgently called for dialogue. People are also worried in Kosovo. In connection with the renewed tensions, Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Donika Gervalla-Schwarz is warning of a new war in the Balkans.
“If the international community tolerates Serbia’s actions, there will be a war,” said the minister on Deutschlandfunk. Serbia wants to create facts to force Kosovo to negotiate territorial issues in Brussels. “Fortunately the attempt failed eight days ago, but we don’t know what the plans are for the future.”